As a working mom of two under two, I cannot imagine how women spent their days before the conveniences I take for granted. As in, modern farming, refrigeration, plastic, running water, air conditioning, dishwashers and cars. Without these, I’d be unable to work, and probably be unable to enjoy my family. The number of hours it would take to handwash clothes or make a meal would keep me going from dawn ’til dusk.  

But litigious climate activists are quietly pushing us to endure these hardships. And the Supreme Court is considering whether to weigh in.  

Through a tool called “public nuisance” litigation, trial lawyers bring multi-billion-dollar lawsuits against companies that are in the dirty business of improving our lives. While the goal for the lawyers is simple (private jets don’t grow on trees), the goal for their activist clients is to shut down industries through the courts, rather than through innovation.  

This is incredibly harmful for the many millions who rely on targeted industries, because unlike when innovation improves or replaces an industry (so long Blackberry), court-ordered damages decimate industries without a replacement Americans want.  

One particularly dangerous public nuisance case, Sunoco v. Honolulu, has made its way through the Hawaii state courts and is pending before the Supreme Court. Honolulu sued major energy companies, like Sunoco, Exxon and BP, arguing they cause climate change, which harms Honolulu. The energy companies face many billions in damages.  

The Hawaii Supreme Court said Honolulu could bring this type of “you injured me” case in state court – putting enormous pressure on the energy companies to settle. Before they settle, the companies are seeking review by the Supreme Court, arguing primarily that localities can’t, under both our constitutional structure and federal law, regulate global climate change. That is, if individual cities have authority to regulate global emissions through litigation, this would completely violate our federal-state system.  

And while federal versus state authority may feel like an intellectual exercise, the negative practical consequences will be immediately life-altering. These lawsuits will add billions in cost to the energy industry, if not entirely eliminate fossil fuels as an energy source.  

At a minimum, everything will get more expensive. Not just the obvious like plane tickets and gas, but everything that relies on plane tickets and gas, from food to childcare. Today’s inflation would feel like child’s play, hitting the middle class and working class particularly hard.  

But that’s the best case. Industries can’t and won’t operate without a profit. If energy companies get continually sued – for their core business – by every blue city hoping to score some sweet Exxon cash, they genuinely cannot operate.  

Oil and gas is a difficult industry as is. It’s highly regulated, dangerous, labor-intensive and subject to uncontrollable events like foreign wars. Add on top of that unlimited lawsuits by any city in the country, and no company in its right mind would continue to operate.  

But you might think, isn’t ending fossil fuels a good thing? Sure, but not like this. At some point, I hope we can generate energy from thin air. But until we’re there, shutting down fossil fuels just means the lights go off. Our cars stand still. Fields aren’t harvested. Goods won’t be transported. Appliances shut off. 

Public nuisance lawsuits aren’t just filed against energy companies. Activists are seeking to eliminate plastics, pharmaceuticals, firearms, pesticides, fast-food and more, far outside the democratic process or through innovation. The end result returns us to a non-modern society.  

And while camping is fun, I reject being forced into a cavewoman lifestyle by ultra-rich trial lawyers and their out-of-touch clients. I need a reliable vehicle, affordable groceries, and a washing machine that works. That’s not too much to ask. 

So, I hope the Supreme Court takes up Sunoco v. Honolulu to end the unconstitutional overreach by liberal localities, which would force Americans to radically alter our lifestyles without our consent.